The Urban Commission in the state of Kerala and its importance in addressing the challenges of urbanization. It highlights the need for a holistic understanding of the urbanization process and the failure of piecemeal approaches.
After 38 years, a new urban commission has been formed in the State of Kerala.
The first urban commission, called the National Commission on Urbanisation, was formed by Rajiv Gandhi and headed by Charles Correa.
The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi led to some important recommendations not being implemented.
The 74th Constitutional Amendment was a positive outcome of the first urban commission.
The process of urbanization has led to significant changes globally, including impacts on climate change and various challenges such as land use, housing, and pollution.
Urban development is a major process of capital accumulation.
Post-independent India has witnessed two periods of development in the urban spectrum: the Nehruvian period and the period of the 1990s.
During the Nehruvian period, around 150 new towns were built with a centralised planning mechanism emphasizing master plans/development plans.
However, this approach failed as it pushed millions of people from rural to urban spaces, with manufacturing as the driving force, which eventually fell miserably.
In the 1990s, the abject privatisation of cities began and global cities became the focus of development.
Master plans were handed over to large parastatals and big consultancy firms, with real estate being the core element.
Cities were made competitive and termed as 'engines of growth' instead of spaces of enlightenment and habitat.
A project-oriented approach and missions like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and the Smart Cities Mission became the focus.
The Urban Commission, formed in 1985, needs to be revisited and relooked at due to the lack of breakthroughs and piecemeal approaches in addressing urbanization issues.
An urban commission is required at the national and state levels to understand migration patterns, settlement patterns, and the impact of information technology on urbanization.
Mission approaches such as Swachh Bharat Mission, AMRUT, HRIDAY, and PMAY have failed in achieving their desired results and are disconnected from objective realities.
Governance in cities is in a mess, with subjects supposed to be transferred to cities still far away and debates about having managers instead of elected officials running city affairs.
The financial architecture is over-centralized, as seen in the Fifteenth Finance Commission recommendations linking grants to cities with their performance in collecting property taxes and the increase in that should be commensurate to the State's Goods and Services Tax.
Kerala has formed the Kerala Urban Commission to address these complexities, with members including an urban professor, a historian, and a professor of urban design.
The Kerala Urban Commission has a 12-month mandate to address the challenges of urbanization in Kerala.
The commission aims to lay a roadmap for at least 25 years of urban development in Kerala.
Kerala's urban development is closely linked to global and national urban processes.
The absence of a national commission makes the Kerala Urban Commission a potential model for other states with high urban populations.
States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab can learn from the process of establishing and implementing the Kerala Urban Commission.
The recent twin blasts in Iran and the security vulnerabilities of the Iranian regime. It also highlights the rising tensions in West Asia and the potential for regional escalation. As a UPSC aspirant, it is important to stay updated on international relations and conflicts in the region.
Twin blasts in the city of Kerman in Iran during a memorial for Qassem Soleimani resulted in the death of at least 84 people.
Qassem Soleimani was the Quds Force commander who was assassinated by the US in Baghdad in January 2020.
The attack highlights the security vulnerabilities of the Iranian regime during a time of spreading conflicts in West Asia.
While Iran's leaders called it a terrorist attack, mid-rung officials blamed the US and the Zionist entity.
The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, as Soleimani had mobilized Shia militias to fight against the IS in Syria and Iraq.
The IS lost its proto state but continues to exist as a terrorist entity in parts of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
Tensions are rising in West Asia
The Kerman memorial event in Iran was bombed
Senior Hamas leader killed in Beirut in a drone strike
Hezbollah vows retaliation
Israeli strike in Syria killed a senior IRGC adviser
Israel's ongoing attack on Gaza has killed at least 22,000 people
Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen repeatedly attacking commercial vessels
Pro-Iran Shia militias targeting U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria
U.S. strike in Iraq killed a Shia militia commander
The Israel-Hamas war has put the whole region in a ring of fire
Chaos and instability would be a boon for jihadists
Calls for de-escalation of the current regional crisis
Iran should show restraint and focus on strengthening internal security.
This article because it discusses the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of India on allegations of malfeasance and stock price manipulation at the Adani group of companies. The article highlights the Court's decision to trust the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and its investigation, while also raising concerns about SEBI's approach and the need for transparency and accountability in corporate governance.
The Supreme Court of India has ruled on a batch of petitions regarding allegations of malfeasance at the Adani group of companies.
The Court has deferred to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to handle the investigation, stating that SEBI has conducted a comprehensive investigation that inspires confidence.
The Court has not addressed the fundamental questions regarding violations of minimum public shareholding and related party transactions, leaving it as a matter between SEBI and the Court.
The Court has denied requests to revoke SEBI's amendments to the Foreign Portfolio Investors Regulations and Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements, stating that they are not illegal or arbitrary.
The Court has observed that SEBI has completed 22 out of the 24 investigations into the Adani group.
The completion of the remaining two investigations is pending due to inputs being awaited from foreign regulators.
The Court has directed SEBI to complete the remaining investigations expeditiously.
The Court's decision to leave the question of SEBI's perceived tardiness in investigating allegations of corporate malfeasance and market manipulation by a large conglomerate to the watchdog may undermine the larger public good.
The Court is aware of past instances where SEBI has been found wanting in enforcement.
The experts' panel appointed in this case has also flagged SEBI's lack of alacrity in enforcement.
The Court emphasizes that justice must not only be done but also be seen to be done.